FRIDAY, Apr. 4, 2008 - David Quarfoot (LITERALLY, "WOMEN'S BOAT")

Friday, April 4, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: a whole lotta Q's (or, none)

I always breathe a mini sigh of relief when I see Quarfoot's byline. I know that the puzzle will be entertaining, thorny in parts, but ultimately on my wavelength. He thinks like I think - well, more than any other constructor, that is. Today's puzzle was great fun, though there were no real struggles involved in finishing. Completed the puzzle by going from NGAIO (28D: Contemporary of Agatha and Erle) to LIMETREE (14A: Linden) with only a few hesitations here and there - and, as usual on late-week puzzles, I did it in a leisurely fashion, over breakfast, so that I could really appreciate the puzzle. I need a few days a week where I'm not speeding through - it's enough pressure just trying to get the puzzle done and blogged by 9am EDT every morning. Sometimes I need to just slow down and take a few bites of cereal and sips of tea in between answers. Not speeding on late-week puzzles also allows me to track my own progress and remember it better, for blogging purposes. This one started in the East, then I took the Q staircase down to the W and SW, then I jumped to the SE, then NE, then finally NW, where the last "E" in LIMETREE was the final letter to go into the grid.

I'm going to bet that I'm one of the only people in the world who started this puzzle with NGAIO. When I threw it down, I was skeptical myself, but then ASIA (36A: Silk Road locale) and MASTS (29D: Pair from a deck, maybe) and then VITAL (39A: Key) went right in, and that eastern section was done - word of the day: UMIAK (30D: Literally, "women's boat"). There are no women (that I can see) in this one:

UMIAK comes down into KIOSKS (41A: Stands in line at an airport?), giving a K-heavy feel to the west, which complements the Q-heavy feel of the center pretty nicely. That's the thing about most DQ puzzles: they tend to be Scrabbletastic.

This puzzle was made easier than it might have been by the aforementioned Q staircase. After QUEEN MUM (27A: Noted centenarian of 2000, familiarly) and QUIET GAME (33A: Parent's ruse to hush noisy kids), I was wondering how long that Q sequence could continue. It's six Qs long! Had QUADS for QUINT (33D: Rare delivery) and had to wait a bit on QUETZAL (35D: Guatemala's national bird), but otherwise, all easy. My favorite, though I have not eaten there in a decade or more, is QUIZNO'S (38D: "Mmmm ... Toasty!" sloganeer). It's a perfect clue, and who doesn't love the "Only in a Crossword Clue" word "sloganeer?" Another thing about DQ puzzles - they tend to have an ear for pop culture and commercial phrases.

Beside the QUADS/QUINT mix-up, there was just one other answer I screwed up - the only thing like a stumbling block in the whole puzzle: I quickly and confidently put in IRS AGENT where IRS AUDIT was supposed to go (53A: Dodger's dread?). When exactly none of the short Downs in the SE would work for me, I re-evaluated. UPI (54D: News inits.) then made AUDIT obvious. While I'm down here, let me give a hearty shout-out to SAM SPADE (56A: Sleuth who "looked rather pleasantly like a blond satan"). That's from page 1 of The Maltese Falcon, one of the greatest novels of the 20th century, and the most important American Crime Story of them all. That opening description of Spade is worth the price of admission (and lets you know that novel spade looks Nothing like movie Spade, i.e. Bogart - I wonder if that confused anyone today). I am sad to say that I do not recall At All the Joan Collins role in question at 58A: Spellbinding "Batman" villainess played by Joan Collins (The Siren). I haven't seen the campy 60s TV show "Batman" since I was a child. I know Joan Collins best as Alexis Carrington Colby on "Dynasty."

The rest:

  • 1A: Abstainer's order (Adam's ale) - I'm just glad I'd seen this before (learned it from xwords), or I'd have been mightily confused. ADAM'S ALE is water (i.e. the only thing Adam had for drink in Eden, I guess).
  • 9A: Ranger rival (Devil) - nice winter sports theme going in the NW, with the NJ DEVILs crossing hockey legend Phil Esposito, aka ESPO (10D: 1969 and 1974 Hart Trophy winner, familiarly), which in turn crosses an Olympic skiing event, the SUPER G (17A: Olympic event since 1988).
  • 16A: Accidental in the key of B or E (D natural) - had DNA in place before I saw the clue and figured I was going to see something about "C.S.I." in the clue. Other music answer in the grid is clued via one of my favorite pieces of music - 23A: Beethoven's "Pastoral Symphony" is in it (F Major).
  • 20A: Three-ingredient treats (s'mores) - tasty gimme. For more junk food, see also ROLOS (32A: Chocolate snacks). Here's the ROLOS jingle I grew up with. Ah, the 80s.
  • 22A: Peck parts: Abbr. (qts.) - I just like this because it goes nicely with another (amazing) "peck" clue: 41D: Pecking order? ("Kiss me!")
  • 34A: Job preceder: Abbr. (Esth) - "preceder" is up there with "sloganeer" and "denizen" and "slangily" in the crossword clue vocabulary Hall of Fame.
  • 37A: Burger replacement (Rehnquist) - that's just genius. I stared at -QUIST for many seconds before my "Aha!" moment came.
  • 40A: One way to wax (eloquent) - when POETIC didn't fit, this came pretty readily (part of the Q staircase).
  • 42A: Member of an "ooky" sitcom family (Itt) - a great great gimme. From "The Addams Family," in case you're wondering.
  • 52A: Title woman of a film that won the 1985 Camera d'Or (Oriana) - by far the most obscure thing in this puzzle, as far as I'm concerned.
  • 1D: Tynan player in "The Seduction of Joe Tynan" (Alda) - a gimme, though I know not why.
  • 7D: Rimes with "Blue" (LeAnn) - grrrreat clue. "Blue" was the song that rocketed her to stardom in the mid-90s. She was a young teenager whose voice was very reminiscent of Patsy Cline's.
  • 9D: Band ensemble (drum set) - I thought the term was DRUM KIT. Maybe onetime commenter "Keith Richards" can tell me what Charlie calls it.
  • 11D: Number between drei and funf (vier) - just grateful that the puzzle stayed within my German number wheelhouse, i.e. 1-4. If answer had been FUNF, I'd have been a dead man.
  • 15D: Largest tenant of Pittsburgh's tallest skyscraper (U.S. Steel) - very gettable, but does "largest" here refer to the size of the company (in financial or workforce terms) or the size of the actual floor space they take up? Maybe both.
  • 24D: German wine region (Mosel) - not to be confused with Mosul. Seriously, do not confuse them. Your vacation would be totally ruined.
  • 26D: 2002 Denzel Washington drama (John Q) - thank god for the Q staircase, or I would have had some trouble here.
  • 45D: Modern home of ancient Medes (Iran) - I know this very well, and yet my first instinct was to think of "home" as an actual structure one might live in, i.e. TEPEE or QUONSET HUT.
  • 46D: Feeding tubes? (ziti) - clever, but gross.
  • 49D: When the Feast of Lots is observed (Adar) - know your Jewish months! Or at least know this one.
  • 50D: Periodic riser (tide) - nice, ambiguous clue on a very familiar answer. A good Friday feeling all around. Thanks, DQ.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


arb 8:47 AM  

Rex wrote:
"I'm going to bet that I'm one of the only people in the world who started this puzzle with NGAIO."

Have known of her stuff for decades, but don't read it. My favorites are Ed McBain and Donald E. Westlake, under several of their various names.

Coop 8:51 AM  

Well, no way did I find this easy-medium but it is a very entertaining and Q-te (groan!) puzzle. Like you, I zeroed in on Ngaio immediately but got hung up in several places. 'Dodger's dread?' hung me up for a while as I was a fan of dem bums when I was young. I'm certainly no fan of the IRS.

Gary S 9:07 AM  

I'm going to bet that I'm one of the only people in the world who started this puzzle with "THE SIREN". I don't know why but I have a very good recollection of who played Batman villains on the old TV show.
Excellent puzzle. Solvable and educational at the same time. The only thing that threw me for awhile was that I had the AK in UMIAK and filled in KAYAK instead.

Karen 9:42 AM  

I'm probably one of lots who started with AMAT.

For some reason, I had OLGA as the Tynan player in 1D. Obviously, I've never seen the movie.

And I like the gratuitous use of z's in PIZAZZ

jannieb 9:46 AM  

I really loved this puzzle. Thanks to this blog I now pay as much attention to the subtleties of the construction as I do the solving. The Q series was fun, my favorite word was kiosk - I didn't trust it at first but then considered the author and filled it in with confidence. Had the entire west coast done then headed east. Last corner for me was the SE, which I finally opened up with a gasp! Thanks DQ for a really fun time.

jls 9:59 AM  

"scrabblistic" and favoloso.

my solve went nw, w, sw, e se, ne.

lotso head-scratchin' because i'd been spelling "vier" "Fier"... oops...

thank you, pbs "mystery" for "ngaio."

do you s'pose we're in for a beq tomorrow?

well, a gal can dream, can't she?



jannieb 10:00 AM  

PS - I first tried "THe Saint" for the blond sleuth - thinking of Roger Moore and the play on saint/satan. Oh well.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

Those of us at the ACPT probably recall VIER from Andrea Carla Michaels' Puzzle 1 as being the only speed bump in an otherwise breezy puzzle.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

I worked this last night, and when I looked at it this morning, I could scarcely remember being able to figure out a single clue. I must have started somewhere and finally chipped my way through. Maybe "AMAT", "EELS", "GASP", "PIZAZZ", "IRAN", "QUIZNOS", and "VIER." Enjoyable from start to finish: few real "gimmes" for me but nothing impossible, so it yielded to steady pressure. Even the sports clues ("ESPO", "DEVIL", "SUPERG") were possible from crosses even though I'd never heard of any of them.

"LIME TREE" seemed to float up out of nowhere with "Unter den Linden." Although I tried "CLUB SODA" first for "ADAMS ALE", I fixed that once I had "ALDA" for the cross. I've never seen "The Seduction of Joe Tynan," but somehow I knew about it, and "ALDA" is in about every third puzzle, it seems.

"D NATURAL" was a nice switch from the usual "SHARP", "MINOR", and "MAJOR".

I liked "Pair from a deck" and "REHNQUIST" and "Pecking order."

RWG 10:01 AM  

I also knew Ngaio instantly. I'm a big fan of classic British mystery and have read all her books, as well as all of Agatha's. And as a music teacher, I loved the music clues. But I just now realized that JOB was the book of the Bible, even though I had the answer! This was a very enjoyable puzzle.

ArtLvr 10:01 AM  

I liked this one very much too -- just one quibble, and that was the crossing in the NE of ESPO and SUPERG, because I guessed wrong on the P. Tough to have two arcane sports words together! Well, I should have googled...


Anonymous 10:07 AM  

I ran through the whole alphabet on that ESPO/SUPERG "P" crossing, too. ESPO could have been anything, for me, but nothing else seemed to fit SUPER G.

Joon 10:18 AM  

this puzzle kicked my ass, but in a good way. i had literally NONE of the Q's after about 25 minutes of solving. i had pieced out the NW, SE, and NE (in that order), and was thinking "hmm, what company could begin with USS? i know, US SOUTH!" sigh. i even knew that 22A wanted to be a unit of volume, and for some reason had GOS there (along with GOOSE for 22D, and SHUSH for 35A). i eventually did realize, "hey, pittsburgh, don't they have steel over there?" the dominoes fell rapidly: QUELL, QUETZAL (i've been waiting for literally years to play this in scrabble... still waiting), PIZAZZ, QUIZNOS, QUINT, QUEENMUM, etc. at some point, i realized there was a Q staircase and was in awe.

this was a spectacular grid and there were some amazing clues. good to see REHNQUIST get some representation (and with an infernally clever clue to boot); he should have been named ALITO!

the SE was definitely my favorite part of the grid. some really nice answers down there, and brilliant cluing (not sure whether to credit DQ or WS).

DNATURAL is a wonderful entry which is also clued extremely precisely. of course B major and E major have four common sharps but D is the one that's not in A, D, or G major. i liked that one a lot, even though it took me longer than it should have to piece it out.

my final puzzle had two bad crossings: QUIETTIME instead of QUIETGAME. i thought NTAIO looked wrong, but actually, it looks no wronger than NGAIO (the --AIO caused me to shy away from ASIA at 36A for the longest time). MASTS does make quite a bit more sense than MISTS, but i still wanted it to be SUITS or something involving a deck of cards. sigh.

UMIAK is another great scrabble word, although i know it as the alternate spelling UMIAQ (one of the handful of words which has Q and U but not in the usual order).

i could gush all day about this puzzle, but i've already spent all morning solving it and should probably get some work done. bravo quarfoot!

PuzzleGirl 10:38 AM  

The Q's made me laugh. Literally. I thought 22A might be QTS but just made a mental note and didn't write it in at first. Then I got QUEEN MUM and thought, "Huh. That would be two Qs right together. Cool." With QUIET GAME I caught on and that's when I started laughing. Not just because of the Q's, but the QUIET GAME is hysterical. "Hey kids. This will be really fun. Let's play the quiet game." The funny part is that if they're young enough they really get into it. At a certain point, though, they realize how lame it is.

I also liked the Z fest in the SW, although I'm partial to spelling PIZZAZZ with four Zs.

Never heard of UMIAK. I had UMLAT in there at first, which was good because it gave me VITAL. Oh, and I kept thinking "Silk Road. It's somewhere in Asia, but where?" D'oh!

Thanks for the explanation of ADAM'S ALE. I'd never heard that expression and I'm something of an abstainer myself. I was looking for something along the lines of NEAR BEER or CLUB SODA, but crosses were having none of it.

All in all, an extremely enjoyable puzzle! Thanks, DQ!

(Song stuck in my head today: "Susie Q.")

PhillySolver 10:41 AM  

@ coop

Funny you called this a QT. I thought that could be a mini-theme...the ITT, ATT, ATV and most importantly the QTS brace the Q staircase (called Avenue Q by wji). I certainly didn't find this easy, but it was a lot of fun and I didn't know the Eskimo boat or the South American bird having never ventured into either environment. My biggest slow-downs involved those xword commonly mentioned chocolate snacks called hohos, vsix fit and dyne looked like a force. Oh, I didn't know ORIANE either, but all of the hardest words were possible due to the clever construction.

I wonder how long Will had this in the Q?

JC66 10:51 AM  

This puzzle kicked my butt...but what construction. That Q staircase is awesome. As soon as I realized what was happening, I looked to see if maybe there was a D staircase somewhere else in the puzzle (or at least a DAIRY QUEEN).

Way to go DQ.

SethG 10:58 AM  

(Started with FLYER, then erased it and put in DEVIL before I ever looked at the crosses. )

Yesterday I promised to be happy if I could just finish today's puzzle. I didn't, but I enjoyed it anyway.

My problem: ADAR was a gimme, so I didn't think twice about the crossing "gimme", AMP. That gave me MIDE and PTEN. And I knew I'd seen MIDE but couldn't remember what it meant, and I didn't know what the V stood for in engine terminology so I had no reason to think there couldn't be a 10-cylinder P-engine.

But it's a Friday--I'd never heard of ORIANA, either (nor did I know LIME TREE, D NATURAL, MOSEL, UMIAK, NGAIO...), but it sounds reasonable and works with crosses I'm confident in so I'll stick with it.

Didn't like the clue for ROLOS--seems like cluing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as a "breaded treat" or something. Accurate, probably even how most people think about them, but the caramel is such an integral part of the Rolo experience for me I hesitated to fill it in even after it became obvious.

jae 11:07 AM  

Great puzzle! Like philly I also tried VSIX and considered HOHOS, and like joon I went with QUIETTIME. I knew there was a mystery writer with a name starting with two consonants but I didn't remember which ones. When I google checked NTAIO I was told I meant NGAIO.

I'd like to think I was responsible for the Q ladder. I commented a while back on a puzzle coauthored by DQ and BEQ that you would think a puzzle written by two guys named Quarfoot and Quigley would have a "Q" in it.

Ulrich 11:21 AM  

I found it hard, but extremely rewarding--guess I'm not on DQ's wavelength (actually expected his name in the puzzle at some point--the way painters put their name on a canvas). Had two mistakes that got resolved only by looking at Rex's solution: Queen mom with oziak and quiet gaze--all caused by my not knowing umiaks.

But the real treat was "Mosel", the German name for the river more widely known under its French name "Moselle": I lived in a small village on that river for four years of elementary school (in a 2-room schoolhouse, no less) and remember vividly the highy points of each year: Riding home on a loaded hay wagon pulled by a team of oxen and, of course, the grape harvest in late fall.

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

Oh sigh. I finished, but I had two mistakes - spelled quetzal with an e, not an a; gave yamaha credit for ATMs, not ATVs since I don't know from powerful engines. I guess that's actually 4 mistakes. All those q's made a lot of it easy, but you got me, DQ.

Frances 11:34 AM  

I was reluctant to enter MOSEL because I thought it was a mis-spelling. Thanks for pointing out the provenance, and the charming reminiscence.

Joon 11:42 AM  

QUETZAL is not only the name of guatemala's national bird, but also its currency. i remember it not only because it's one of the 7-letter scrabble words with a Q and Z, but also because it's the start of the name of the chief aztec god Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent. gotta love those aztec god names. i'm waiting for the sicko themed puzzle with QUETZALCOATL, HUITZILOPOCHTLI, TEZCATLIPOCA, and maybe TLALOC and XOLOTL for shorter entries.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

Nice puzzle. Thought I was going to breeze right thru - ALDA, DYNE, AMAT - oops. Made it in about 8 minutes with one error FIER. Oh well, I guess the DEFIL is in the details.

imsdave - the frustrated blogger (worked yesterday)

Bill D 12:31 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill D 12:36 PM  

I didn't find this one quite as easy as many of you, but I enjoyed it just as much. Not having kids, QUIET GAME came slowly - QUIET TIME didn't seem to fit the clue. In fact, I had QUIET briefly for QUELL and wanted DYNE also as a result of brilliant overall cluing in this puzzle. I also had HOHOS for ROLOS for the longest time; I've never had a HOHO, but ROLOS are my favorite candy - I too would never consider them a "chocolate" snack, about the only gripe I had with the cluing.

I wondered what the non-hockey fans would think of the DEVILS/ESPO cross, but I didn't realize SUPER G would cause such anguish - I'm sure we've seen it in the NYT before. Super G is short for Super Giant Slalom, a ski race in which the gates are rather far apart and the fast skiing style is closer to the Downhill, the fastest of all ski races. It was included on the World Cup circuit to allow downhillers to gain more points towards the overall Cup standings dominated by the slalom skiers.

Bill D 12:41 PM  

I have been trying to practice on-line the last few days, so after I did the puzzle on paper I filled it in on the Times Across Lite. I did it twice, using the same answers as Rex, and I haven't got the program to accept the puzzle. Did anyone else have this problem?

wade 12:51 PM  

This one had some of the most clever cluing I've seen in awhile. The puzzle felt a lot harder than it really was, if that makes any sense. I bogged down in the NE (I can't stand the Olympics coverage here, what with all the phony back stories and Dick Enberg's florid pseudo-poetic intros, so have no idea what event "super G" could be, and I was thinking Expo for ESPO, since I had no idea what the Hart trophy is but thought it sounded like something a Canadian would win) and also in the SE. I was going to throw in the towel until I saw that I was only about 17 or 18 minutes into the puzzle. I persevered and finished in just under 24 minutes, which is longish for me on a Friday lately but not my worst time by any means.

As an example of the cleverness of the cluing ("Pecking order" is my favorite), even after I finished the puzzle I didn't immediately understand ESTH for "Job preceder." I thought it should have been ESTM, as in "estimate," but knew it didn't make sense with JOHNQ. Only on reflection did I figure out he'd been leading me into the Bible trap.

Anonymous 1:05 PM  

joaneee and

I combined your missteps. Had Fier and Defil, SuperK and Leks;
Quetzel with an E and ATMm instead of ATV, and two of of my very own EMajor instead of FMajor and solos instead of Rolos.
Also wanted queues instead of kiosks as the "queue of Q's" (sung toHandel's Messiah : instead of King of Kings)seemed to indicate. Although went with kiosks.


MarkTrevorSmith 1:15 PM  

Not too long ago, the "Way with Words" show featured Martha Barnette giggling over "pecking order" as a clue for "kiss me." Did she get it from DQ, or did DQ get it from her? Or neither? Maybe it's ancient.

Ulrich 1:29 PM  

To all who had "fier" for "vier": You are excused b/c German "vier" is pronounced like English "fear", not like English "veer".

The general rule is this (if you ever find yourself in Germany): "v" is pronounced like English "f" in all words of Germanic origin, like "vorne" (in front) or "Verkehr" (traffic). It's pronounced like English "v" in foreign and loan words, particularly those from Latin, as in "Vase" (vase).

miriam b 1:34 PM  

Never heard of SUPERG, but it fit. Sports is (are?) not my forte. BTW, I cringe when I hear people put an e aigue on that final vowel. It's pronounced FORT, folks.

Back to the puzzle: I've raised 5 kids, but never heard of QUIETGAME, which I had to get via crosses. I guess our usual approach was more like "Knock it off."

dk 1:43 PM  

My lovely wife and I cursed the NE and SW. Loved the QU staircase.

When we got QUETZAL we all but mooed with contentment as we filled in the SW. ORIANA only came via the crosses and ZITI is gross but inspired

SUPERG was the big groaner of the day with UMIAK a pain as I was sure it was KAYAK.

Lastly, can we petition for more New Testament clues. My wife who claims to have graduated from Bethel and also claims she was raised as a religious conservative is no help at all on Old Testament "books." I even do better with Old Test. clues despite my rather curious 666 birthmark. So bring on the new.

I like learning that ADAMSALE is water as I am always looking for new poser words. Perhaps I shall use my new found locution this eventide.

ProdigalT 1:49 PM  

Speaking of "Scrabbletastic," a variant spelling of UMIAK, that can come in handy for Scrabble is UMIAQ.

Joon 1:57 PM  

miriam b: i'm unconvinced. the french word forte is pronounced "for" (and should probably be preceded by "le"); the italian word forte is pronounced "for-tay." check out the note on usage over on

you can reserve your right to cringe, but there's no standard pronunciation, and i don't really see why one should be preferred over another on aesthetic or linguistic grounds.

Anonymous 2:15 PM  

Re Forte. Properly, it's pronounced For-tay when referring to music, FORT when not.

I respect Miriam's cringing, because she is classically correct. It may be common to pronounce it for-tay, but that's common, not correct.

I realize language is an evolving entity, but there is a difference between including new or expansive terms and validating incorrect usage. Now if I could just get all the linguists to join me on my soap box, all would be well.

miriam b 2:16 PM  

OK, Joon, I reserve my right to cringe! Clearly this issue is unresolved - and will probably remain so - but I note that the recommended pronunciation is "fort", though usage mavens are dismayed over the inconsistencies in the word's derivation.

wade 2:21 PM  

Re the pronunciation of "forte," it's really a question of whether it's more important to you to be right or to avoid looking like a crank. I fought the battle on the pronunciation of "short-lived" (should be a long "i" sound) for awhile but it required too much explanation and I usually left the conversation feeling like I'd been a pain in the butt, so I went back to saying like everybody else does.

Also, I like using "bailiwick" rather than "forte" when I get the chance.

miriam b 2:28 PM  

@Anonymous 2:15:

If "forte" were actually a French noun, this would be a nonissue. In fact it's the feminine form of the adjective "fort" which means "strong", "intense",etc.

So I'll join you on the soapbox and continue to declare that playing the pianoFORTAY is not my FORT.

Bill from NJ 2:38 PM  

Failed miserably on this puzzle. Never got much beyond Avenue Q with lots of white space in the NW and West. Had QUIET at 35A which prevented me from gaining ground in the East. Did reasonably well in the South but . . .

Did a lot of Googling but gave that that up in disgust because I didn't want this to turn into a fill-in-the-blank thing.

Gave up at the 90 minute mark.

miriam b 2:39 PM  

@ Wade:

Sometimes even explanations are futile. A friend tells me that a highly educated woman he knows frequently says "To all intensive purposes." My friend knows her well enough to have attempted tactfully to steer her right, but she had none of it.

I heard a radio call-in shrink say "long-lived" correctly the other day, and my high opinion of her ascended by a notch.

Rex Parker 2:47 PM  

I've given up (long ago) linking my esteem of anyone to the way that person pronounces words. Seems really, really superficial. This is my whole issue with the ESL crowd (Eats, Shoots, Leaves) - they sneer at and deride people whose usage they deem substandard. That attitude is really ugly to me. It's like people who correct their kids' grammar - I want to smack them. Speak correctly yourself, and leave everyone else alone. I can't hear the (apparently "correct") long-voweled "long-lived" without wincing (sounds pretentious to me). I think I say it with a short 'i' because of "I've been workin' on the railroad / all the live-long day," and no matter how wrong I'm told I am (and I've never been so told), I'm not changing.

Plenty of complete and utter @ssholes are real language mavens. They can say 'fort' all day long - no esteem for them!


ArtLvr 3:03 PM  

I sympathize with miriam b, but am more likely to say short-lived with short i, like Rex... The song he cites is one reason, I suppose, or the more familiar phrase "Long live the King" (or Queen).

BTW -- If you want a really tough puzzle to round out your day or evening, try the one by Dan Naddor in the LA Times today. I went back to it several times since this morning before finally cracking it. An URSINE ordeal, but clever...


Rex Parker 3:21 PM  

OK, in case it was unclear, the "plenty of complete and utter @ssholes are language mavens" statement, above, was not meant to refer to anyone who reads or comments at this blog - I just know people, personally, who correct people's usage routinely and who are hateful human beings.


Anonymous 3:38 PM  

Rex: Where were you in my childhood? You would have save me from many a painful evening of Can I/May I be excused? dinner table fiascos.
Is the QUIETGAME similar to the "I'm going to lock you F*&(*@#* kids in the basement" game? I don't know, I don't have kids.

barrywep 3:43 PM  

Loved the DQ but did not notice the Q stairs until I was done. (Just noticed a lot of Qs). I started with ALDA. Although I got NGAIO from the N I was otherwise not on Rex's wavelength since i solved it completely differently. (Not being on Rex's wavelength is probably a good thing in most places in life.) Just kidding. Sort of. I know Rex is in a good mood today because of his unprompted apology after calling many of his readres "assholes' albeit unintentionally.

Anonymous 5:18 PM  


Really liked the LA Times puzzle today also. Last weeks Fri and Sat puzzles were at least the equal of the corresponding NY Times, and I thought todays was tougher.


Anonymous 5:21 PM  

Is "forte" really French? I always assumed it was Latin. Not that that helps me very much, since my Latin pronunciation is largely guesswork.

Wade being a Texas and (evidently) a lawyer, he's probably heard the common Texas pronunciation VOYER DYRE for voir dire. All you Yankees probably haven't.

Sorry, Rex, I'm with Miriam.

mac 5:30 PM  

Brilliant puzzle! Many of the clues are so clever and funny (once you've figured them out), DQ must have quite a sense of humor.
I had a bit of a hard time with this one. Some answers came naturally, who knows wherefrom, others took a lot of doing. I thought the "Toasty" clue had something to do with the ad with Anneke Sorenstam and the eternally tanned actor whose name I forget. 34A had to be Asst. (before a job, of course!), and Umiaq did not have a k.
I guess I'm not going to get into the fort/forte discussion.
I like the word bailiwick as well, just read it in an email from a friend in Belfast this morning.

P.S. managed to include "that ain't hay" in a conversation yesterday!

miriam b 5:36 PM  

Well, Anonymous 5:21, it's an English noun of dubious ancestry, apparently. As I mentioned in a previous post. the French "forte" is the feminine form of the adjective "fort" = strong. And there's the Italian connection, as well. And the Latin ancestor.

I'm thinking of just saying, "It's not my bag" from now on - simply avoiding the f-word altogether.

Ulrich 5:38 PM  

@anonymous 5:21pm: Forte in music is Italian (as joon has already pointed out) and the e is pronounced--dropping it would be wrong. BTW Our piano was originally called "piano-forte" because, unlike the harpsichord, it could play loud and quiet notes, and the word is purely Italian. "Forte" meaning a strong point is French and, strictly speaking, the e should not be pronounced (but the t should!).

But the usage note joon cited is very inclusive when it comes to pronunciation, and I think we should leave it at that.

mac 5:52 PM  

Do we all think snips is acceptable? Snippets maybe. Or am I being a snip?
Ngaio certainly was a gimme for me, too, I love mysteries, and except for Colin Dexter I much prefer the female writers, and then the British ones.

green mantis 6:01 PM  

When I was muddling around the Delmarva peninsula and had quiet time for a spell, I put in "fists" for "pair from a deck. (I know that doesn't work, AT ALL, for the queen, but anyway) My point: "pair from a deck, maybe" would be a kick ass clue for fists. Am I right?

Bill from NJ 6:18 PM  


Thanks for the tip. Had much better luck with this one than with the NYT puzzle today.

andrea carla michaels 6:41 PM  

I waited till Ulrich explained the V/F thing, having been guilty as charged of having the VIER in my puzzle at the ACPT and getting punched for it by several solvers.

It's like that old joke, "What comes between fear and sex?"

Not only was there a Q staircase, but if you have QUIET instead of QUELL initially (since I solve bottoms up sometimes) there also was a T staircase, interrupted by just one L. SO I thought the theme was "on the QT" or something.

But may I also suggest another mini-subtheme?

None of which I knew!
And as a Scrabble player, I too love UMIAQ, but, it's, like, never come up.

And I'm not going to jump into the whole Fort/Fort-ay fray, but I agree with Rex, just speak properly yourself and set an example rather than correct others!

Even when I was an ESL teacher, I'd simply repeat the sentence back to the student as tho I hadn't quite heard it, and let them intuit the correct way.
student: "I don't want nothing"
me: "You don't want anything?"

But after a while, I even thought F%$*k that! "I don't want nothing" is actually more clear! And even more charming if it's being said by a young Italian boy!

artLvr 6:56 PM  

@ imsdave and bill from nj -- glad to hear your confirmation on today's LA Times x-word! Of all the clues, "terminal request" was a wow: first I was sure it was a Final Wish, then maybe Aid on Macs or something. Egads. At least I learn lots from doing more puzzles per day.

@ mac -- I'm a mystery fan too, from way back. My first thought was for Dorothy Sayres, then Ngaio Marsh. As to the males, I agree there are fewer in the top rank, but would include Reginald Hill with Colin Dexter. (Ulrich would enoy Hill's soccer subtheme)! Would add one Bill Knox you may not have heard of: I love his tales of the Fishery Patrol's perils along the wild coasts of Scotland. (Wild in the sense of lingering clan traditions, as well as the daunting islands and high-seas settings).


Ulrich 7:02 PM  

@andrea: I'm over my quota for the day, but the hell with it. I've never heard the "vier, fünf, sechs" joke--no wonder, it makes sense only in English, and it really cracked me up.

Anonymous 7:15 PM  

What tripped me up was the (debatably) incorrect capitalization of B in the clue "Accidental in the key of B or E". B in this case refers to b minor, and keys in minor are lowercase.

Had KAYAK for UMIAK. Didn't know THE SIREN OR UPI, and thought YAMAHA only made keyboards and pianos. Really liked the Q's. Got VIER only because of the ACPT puzzle.

Kevin Der 7:15 PM  

sorry, that was me up there.

Leon 7:19 PM  

The second film version of The Maltese Falcon was called “Satan Met a Lady” and co-starred Bette Davis in the Mary Astor role. The falcon was changed to “Roland’s Trumpet” and the Fat Man was substituted by one Madame Barabbas. The Joel Cairo/Peter Lorre role was played by Arthur Treacher.

The NYT film review in 1936 called it a : “farrago of nonsense.”

Real Q-ute puzzle Mr. Q.

miriam b 7:25 PM  

I found the "U"s which followed the "Q"s (as in Quarfoot) to be helpful in solving this puzzle. It would have been a bit tricky if we'd had to deal with QATAR or QUM, for instance. Great puzzle today. I doubt that I'd ever try consructing one myself.

Orange 7:26 PM  

On the Internet, nobody can hear your pronunciation (which reminds me of the New Yorker cartoon, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog."). Even if you are a strict prescriptionist where the language is concerned and you hear "long-liiiived" and "fort(e)" when you write it, most of the people reading it hear "long-livved" and "for-tay" with their mind's ears, and there's not a thing the language mavens can do about it. No confusion, no insults—everyone gets along just fine. Ain't it beautiful?

miriam b 7:28 PM  

OOOPS. Should proofread. QUM would've been OK.

Nothnagel 8:04 PM  

From the Better Late Than Never files:

This puzzle is Q-riffic! After the first two, I figured it was just DQ giving us a dose of his usual Scrabbliness, but then they started to stack up, and I actually stopped the timer and laughed out loud.

This puzzle is just one more reason that I'm envious of folks with cool initials...I can't imagine anyone's going to get worked up over an N staircase.


p.s. My first filled-in entry was IAN MacNaughton.

Michael 8:28 PM  

I thought this was a great puzzle, with an appropriate number of Qs from a constructor named Quarfoot. But I found it much easier than yesterdays (also wonderful) puzzle. At least for me (though clearly not for some of you), this one should have been on Thursday and yesterday's today.

I got a bit thrown off by Sam Spade being blond. I know it makes no sense, but I assumed he had dark hair.

fergus 9:03 PM  

Best mistake was IRT TRAIN for the Dodger's dread.

I thought the most cumbersome region was the NW corner, but that was only due the subliminal effect of Samuel Adam's Brewery advertising. It's always a good idea to abstain from any such product when attempting a Friday or Saturday puzzle, but I managed to scribble though this one on my first and second Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

The Pecking order? Clue hit a new high on the Groanmeter when I finally put the K,S and M together.

Doug E 9:10 PM  

Did this on a cross country flight and wanted to jump out of the plane after getting it all but the northwest corner. Biblical Job vs. working man's job gets me every time. And Rimes I should have known. She's quite the big country star now. The quiet game works very simply: "Let's see who can stay quiet the longest. Ready, set, GO!"

fergus 9:29 PM  

Since I'm getting familiar enough with the regular constructors, I found the D NATURAL a nice twist on the Silent__, which I thought was the DQ signature.

@ green mantis

I liked your take on the Pair from a deck. Trawling in the outer limits of dictionary definitions is what a good Clue is all about.

mac 9:35 PM  

@artlvr (so am I), thank you for the tip; I'm sure I've read Reginald Hill, but Bill Knox is unknown to me. I'll check it out. Always good to find a new mystery source.

dquarfoot 9:42 PM  

Howdy All,

Glad to see the X-Peeps enjoyed the puzz. The original goal was to break the "Most Q's in a Puzzle" record held by Manny. I figured - get 6 in the middle, then 3 in the NW and SE each and I'm done. After making the middle, I got sidetracked and stopped caring about the record. I thought the most interesting part of the whole grid was the cross of JOHNQ and REHNQUIST - not too many words/phrases have the pattern HNQ in them. can reveal the rest for those obsessed with exhaustive lists of such things. Of course, this seems trivial in comparison to some brilliance by Byron a few years ago - he stacked HAZMATSUIT and KAZMATSUI on top of each other. These share the string AZMATSUI!


PS As usual, there were a couple of entries thrown in the grid to make the Q-Posse smile. You know who you are.

PuzzleGirl 9:46 PM  

@kevin der: But in B Major (as in E Major), the D is sharp, so in order for it to be natural it would be an accidental. Therefore the clue is accurate. Right? Doc John?

@nothnagel: I had the very same experience. When I got the third Q, I really started laughing hard.

@sethg: I totally agree with your Rolo analysis and am so happy to be part of a community where that kind of triviality is part of the daily discourse.

ArtLvr 11:22 PM  

@ mac -- Thanks! The Bill Knox series about the Fishery Protection Service in western Scotland features Webb Carrick, and another series centers on Colin Thane of the murder squad in Edinburgh, also enjoyable... I just found out via (used and out of print section) that Knox also wrote under at least two pseudonyms as well: Robert MacLeod and Noah Webster (!) Can't wait to track down some of those.


ArtLvr 11:27 PM  

p.s. Many thanks to David Quarfoot for the neat puzzles -- and for the mention of which sounds Quite hepful!


John Reid 11:41 PM  

I'm posting too late for anyone to see this...

@nothnagel - IAN was my first entry too. Ni!

@fergus - I too learned last night the hard way that beer and Friday puzzles do not mix. My solving time was abysmal but at least I didn't get any letters wrong.

@andrea carla michaels (and everyone else who had VIER/FIER comments) - I certainly got this answer correct today... I learned this one the hard way after having fallen from 196 to 228 at the last tournament because I erased that V and changed it to an F before handing in puzzle 1! :C

@dquarfoot - Thanks! And keep 'em coming...

Doc John 12:23 AM  

Well, I'm finally posting today. Still dealing with a flu-addled mind (e.g. I didn't write in KIOSKS because I miscalculated the number of letters) so the puzzle took longer than most, even after nailing ALDA right at the beginning. I had to do the last third in pencil because stuff in the SE just didn't seem to want to congeal. Interestingly enough, though, as soon as I started writing in some supposed answers, the puzzle fell! I'd probably really improve my solving times if I'd just do the whole darn thing in pencil!

I did enjoy the Q ladder and was looking for corresponding Ds as well.

@ puzzlegirl- music theory, per se, is not my thing; I only read what's written on the sheet music! That said, what you say makes a lot of sense to me. The B and E major scales do not include a D natural, so to tell a player to play it, you'd have to put a natural sign with the note, thus accenting it. So, well done!

And speaking of Yamaha, they've got their noses into everything! Hard to believe that the company that makes boats and motorcycles also makes stereo equipment and musical instruments (including one of my tubas). In fact, their logo is three tuning forks.

Fave clue: [Feeding tubes]=ZITI. Yes, kinda gross but hey, I've seen worse things in an ER!

High C 1:40 AM  

If anyone is interested, the Siren, played by Joan Collins, was a beautiful woman who could put men under a hypnotic spell with her highest singing note, and thus make them obey her nefarious commands. She was created specifically for the show and never appeared in the comics. Easily my favorite character.

embien 4:22 PM  

The Q ladder was awesome. Did anyone else notice the ladder of the third letters of the Q words? I E I E I E up the ladder! (The second letter, U, is pretty much a given.)

I started with AN O'DOULS at 1A for the "Abstainer's order" and struggled from there. Would have been lost without this blog--thanks (I probably was only 75% complete when I came to the blog).

Yancy 6:56 PM  

Just caught on to the Job preceder. Ha!

Aviatrix 8:02 PM  

QUETZAL was my first fill. My best friend moved to Guatemala when I was a little girl and she sent me a banknote with that long-tailed bird on it. I stumbled over abstainer for a long time, wondering what he abstained from? Sex? Alcohol? Meat? Cheesecake? I was looking for something like GETAWAYFROMME or NOTHING. I took that vegetarian theme down to the burger replacement, and then went to Google and came back with BURNQUIST, a pro-organic foods skateboarder who I figured might be marketing his own line of burger replacement cuisine.

I had HOHOS (Rolos are definitely caramel) flirted with MITTS for pair from a deck, and spelled it UMYAK, so gave up and came here.

The biggest "D'oh" of the puzzle was AMAT.

imtzar 10:35 PM  

Had QUIET for QUELL and mused, "...this will not make Rex happy. QUIET isn't silent." I was very tickled when I soon discovered the joke was on me!

This was a beautiful puzzle, ELOQUENT, really and full of PIZAZZ. It was quite a week in NYT puzzledom. I loved the Kevin Der rebus and opening up to a Manny puzzle (Tuesday, April Fools day) was a real treat. This usually inspires me to go out for breakfast, preferably alone. (Don't like to share my Manny puzzles, or DQ's either, for that matter!)

Now I need to go check out a mystery novel and get a small caramel sundae at DQ. It appears to be crossword sweeps month!

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